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Meal Planning and Prepping Hacks for Ramadan: Your Ultimate Guide

Meal planning and prepping during Ramadan can help you manage your time and conserve energy for worship and other life tasks.


meal planning

Everyone says Ramadan is more about worship than food, but the food certainly cannot be ignored during the holy month. Ensuring that you and your family have the fuel you need to survive from one fast to the next is crucial. The stress, however, can be overwhelming.

In addition to the extra pressure, preparing to feed yourself can be even more frustrating during Ramadan when you’d much rather be taking a nap or doing something else. While there are some individuals who swear meal planning and prepping is the best way to cook meals regularly, utilizing these highly organized methods can be an option for people to explore during Ramadan; especially given the extra demands during the holy month.

Meal Planning vs Meal Prepping. What’s the Difference?

Meal planning is an organization system in which you plan your meals for a week to a month ahead of time. Meal prepping, when you set aside time to do some prep work for the recipes you are cooking in the next few days, is a strategy that can make cooking more efficient.

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Ramadan meal planner

How to Meal Plan for Ramadan

How can you make a meal plan for Ramadan this year? Try following these steps:

  1. Set your goals: Before you start meal planning, set your goals! What do you want to focus on this Ramadan? Healthy eating? Trying new recipes? Quick meals?
  2. Make a meal pattern: Can you simplify your iftar and suhoor meals with a pattern? You can try assigning each day of the week a meal category, such as meatless Monday or pasta Thursday, to help give you more guidance as you plan. Can you make your life easy by alternating between two suhoor meals every other day?  
  3. Choose your recipes: Prioritize recipes that are quick and easy to make, require less clean-up, and are nutritious. You can simply rely on the meals you regularly cook in your rotation or you can ask for recommendations for tried and true recipes from friends.
  4. Keep it simple: During Ramadan, focus on simple, easy-to-prepare meals that don’t require a lot of time, effort, or clean-up. This can help you save time and energy during the busy month.
  5. Make use of (healthy) convenience foods: Don’t be afraid to use convenience foods like canned beans, frozen vegetables, and pre-cooked meals to help speed up meal prep time.
  6. Plan for like-tasks: There are always opportunities you can create to save time by grouping like-tasks.  You can use the same ingredients over multiple days, cook multiple ingredients for the week at the same time in the oven or grill, or complete all prep work with a tool, like a food processor, so that you only have to wash and clean once.
  7. Make a grocery list: With all your meals in mind for that week or month, create a master grocery list of things you need, listing what you need and don’t already have.
  8. Go grocery shopping: Before Ramadan starts, buy shelf-stable foods for the pantry and halal meat for the freezer. Now all you need to do is simply go to the store for a quick grocery run to buy fresh ingredients on a weekly basis. You may even consider signing up for a grocery delivery service for the month of Ramadan to offload the burden of grocery shopping during this busy time of year.
  9. Prep your ingredients: At the beginning of the week or every couple of days, take some time to prepare ingredients for your next few meals. Why not multi-task if you’re already in the kitchen cooking today’s meal during downtime? Meal prep includes chopping vegetables, marinating meat, preparing sauces, or pre-cooking items.  
  10. Cook in batches: Can you cook larger quantities of food at a time and store it in the fridge or freezer? This can make it easier to get a meal ready and on your plate during Ramadan.
  11. Plan conservatively: Remember that fasting during Ramadan changes how much food we eat, as our stomachs shrink over the course of the month. Out of your zeal for meal planning, make sure you don’t end up wasting food because your family is still working on yesterday’s leftovers. This could mean setting aside Wednesday “kill day” on which nothing new is cooked and every last bit of leftovers from the week is consumed. And if you end up short a meal in the week, why not order in if there’s room in your budget?
  12. Be flexible: Adapt as needed on a daily or weekly basis. You have a plan you’d like to follow, but you might need to go off-course every now and then to ensure you don’t waste food or to accommodate a change in your schedule.

Are you wondering what a meal plan looks like for Ramadan? Check out what our friends at Productive Muslim have put together! Are you looking for a meal plan organizer to use? MuslimMatters has you covered! Choose from a Canva template or PDF download.

The Perks of Meal Planning During Ramadan

Even though meal planning might not be something you gravitate towards outside of Ramadan, it can be a helpful tool to use during Ramadan to make life easier and more enjoyable. Here are some benefits of meal planning during this holy month.

  1. Preserves your bandwidth: If you have a plan to follow for iftar, suhoor, and snacks, you will have much more bandwidth for other important things during Ramadan. Focus more on your ritual acts of worship, have enough energy to get that workout in at night, or even just keep yourself in a better mood with all that leftover bandwidth in your reserves.
  2. Saves time: You’ll save time by planning your meals for the week or month in advance. Say goodbye to the agony of figuring out what to cook every day–which can be even more onerous at the end of a day’s fast.
  3. Reduces stress: Take one stressful thing off your plate during Ramadan – figuratively speaking. You won’t have to worry about last-minute decisions or running to the grocery store to pick up a missing ingredient.
  4. Plans for balanced meals: Disrupt the temptation of fulfilling your unhealthy Ramadan cravings with plans for balanced meals. Give yourself a fighting chance to meet your daily nutrition goals with meals that align with what you’d like your diet to be. Plan to indulge in Ramadan treats responsibly.
  5. Encourages mindful eating: Meal planning can help encourage mindful eating, which is a practice that draws your attention to what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, when you’re eating, and why you’re eating. Using meal planning is a way to be more intentional with the food you eat.
  6. Helps with budgeting: Meal planning can help you be more frugal with your money. Save money when you buy only what you need or plan for meals using less-costly ingredients.

Meal Plan and Meal Prep Hacks for Ramadan

Whether you’re new to the game or a veteran, try out these hacks this Ramadan!

  1. Pre-portion and marinate halal meat: Pre-portion the meat you need for each recipe in an airtight container or zipper-sealed bag. Marinate the meat and then freeze it. All you have to do is defrost the meat before you cook it—the night before in the fridge is the simplest. If you make one trip to the halal butcher every month or every two weeks, this saves you overhead.
  2. Cook meat in advance: If you have the freezer space and don’t mind eating reheated food, cook some meat and freeze it in pre-portioned bags. Whether it’s shredded chicken breast for enchiladas or grilled steak strips to top a salad, if it can be frozen and reheated well, go for it!
  3. Plant-based protein swaps: If you are short on meat or time during Ramadan, check out the plant-based protein section of your local grocery store. My family’s favorites are tofu, Beyond Meat burger patties, and Field Roast sausages.
  4. Find vegetarian or pescatarian frozen meals at your local grocery store: Can you find vegetarian pot stickers to eat as a side, or popcorn shrimp to throw into a taco? Make a sweep through the freezer section and don’t forget to double-check the ingredients list and nutrition facts.
  5. Opt for set-and-forget cooking techniques: Use methods of cooking that don’t require your constant presence or attention, such as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, instant pot, oven, or air fryer. Use whatever cooking gadget you have available. ­­­­
  6. Cook in the microwave: Can you find ways to cook in your microwave? I love steaming vegetables in the microwave because they either come in steamable bags or I simply stick the bowl into the dishwasher once the veggies are all done.
  7.  Find shortcuts whenever possible: Can you save time for yourself with frozen chopped vegetables, canned beans, or store-bought sauces? Although they might be a little more expensive and/or not have the ideal taste or nutritional benefits compared to cooking from scratch, taking shortcuts with meal prep and cooking can be worth it during Ramadan.
  8. Incorporate leftovers into subsequent meals: Can you make less work for yourself by recycling leftovers into your next meal? Whether it’s taking leftover rice from the day before and making fried rice, or making extra chicken and shredding it for the next day’s meal, plan for overlaps whenever possible. ­­

I pray these tips are useful for us all this Ramadan. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) bless our fasts and all of our efforts– including preparing and consuming meals, a necessary part of life!


Related Posts:

Ready, Set, Go! Food & Nutrition for a Healthy Ramadan

10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan


Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Meena is a writer, podcaster, high school English teacher, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US and is also studying the Asharah Qira'aat/10 Recitations. Check out her podcast and website Brown Teacher Reads: the brown literature circle you always wanted to be in. (

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